Behavioural Explanation in the Realm of Non-mental Computing Agents

Minds and Machines 25 (1):37-56 (2015)

Bernardo Aguilera Dreyse
University of Sheffield
Recently, many philosophers have been inclined to ascribe mentality to animals on the main grounds that they possess certain complex computational abilities. In this paper I contend that this view is misleading, since it wrongly assumes that those computational abilities demand a psychological explanation. On the contrary, they can be just characterised from a computational level of explanation, which picks up a domain of computation and information processing that is common to many computing systems but is autonomous from the domain of psychology. Thus, I propose that it is possible to conceive insects and other animals as mere computing agents, without having any commitment to ascribe mentality to them. I conclude by sketching a proposal about how to draw the line between mere computing and genuine mentality
Keywords Mentality  Psychological explanation  Computation  Computing agents  Animal cognition
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DOI 10.1007/s11023-015-9362-1
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References found in this work BETA

Brainstorms.Daniel C. Dennett - 1978 - MIT Press.
Vison.David Marr - 1982 - W. H. Freeman.
The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.

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